Saudi Arabia: Syrian war on rebels is 'genocide'

June 25, 2013 19:16

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday the Syrian government's attempts to suppress a rebellion amounted to "genocide" and called for rebels to get military aid to defend themselves, in a sharp escalation of rhetoric over the conflict.

Speaking at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah, Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal criticised Iran, Russia and Hezbollah for backing and arming Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"Syria is facing a double-edged attack. It is facing genocide by the government and an invasion from outside the government ... (It) is facing a massive flow of weapons to aid and abet that invasion and that genocide. This must end," he said.

The prince did not spell out what he meant by genocide but the kingdom has accused Assad of using air and artillery strikes against heavily populated civilian areas.

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